shirtfront-- [Abbot's] pledge to shirtfront Vladimir Putin

I see the term in the Guardian, but it's in a quotation. I wonder if the word enjoys currency in the UK, esp. in its extended meaning (beyond tackle): confront forcefully with a grievance.


With Trump and Tillerson, Abbott's 'shirtfront' comment looks even sillier | Kadira Pethiyagoda

Our erstwhile approach of being “more Catholic than the Pope” as seen by former prime minister Tony Abbott’s unfulfilled pledge to “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin, and other inflammatory rhetoric that saw us excluded from talks on Syria (harming our anti-terror efforts), will no longer suffice now that the next US president has moved to rapprochement with Russia.
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    From the quoted article:
    The prime minister resorted to the Australian Rules football term for roughing up an opponent to describe his approach to Putin’s presence in the country next month.
    (emphasis added)

    Australian Rules football has yet to make its any mark in the UK. Everyone's too busy watching Bloody Boring UK Rules football.
    No, shirtfront enjoys no currency in the UK. (Unless everyone's secretly using it behind my back:D)
    I don't think we even buttonhole people any more:(
     
    Last edited:

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    About 'shirt-fronting':

    The word 'shirt fronting' is an Australian term meaning "a head-on charge aimed
    at bumped an
    [grammar?] opponent to the ground" (Macquarie dictionary). It is a very popular term in the Australian Football League (AFL). It is a rule for a front-on challenge that knocks down an opponent in the game that is very much physical.19 Nov 2014
    PM Modi's 'shirt fronting joke' in Australia: What is shirt fronting ...
    www.oneindia.com/.../pm-narendra-modi-shirt-fronting-joke-in-australia-w...
    Benny, I have no idea why you imagine that BrE speakers in general would understand an Australian football term. It's true that Brits do understand a great many AusE expressions. Perhaps there are a large number of British soccer fans who are familiar with the vocabulary of the Australian form of the game; I wouldn't know, but I'm so very happy that ewie doesn't either.

    Our erstwhile approach of being “more Catholic than the Pope” as seen by former prime minister Tony Abbott’s unfulfilled pledge to “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin, and other inflammatory rhetoric that saw us excluded from talks on Syria (harming our anti-terror efforts), will no longer suffice now that the next US president has moved to rapprochement with Russia.
    I'd like to nominate this as the worst sentence of the year.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I see from the link to the Guardian article, that it writes about Trump's foreign policy from an Australian angle. I suppose you could take the view that "shirtfront" is therefore a reasonable enough choice in that context, but it's unlikely to be familiar to the majority of British readers who have nothing much in the way of Australian connections.
     
    Hermione: Benny, I have no idea why you imagine that BrE speakers in general would understand an Australian football term.

    I don't "imagine" that BE speakers would understand, I inquired about it. The term is quoted in a well-known British publication and no explanation is supplied. I would wonder why the term is used, unexplained, if few Brits would be able to determine the sense of it. So I asked about it.

    {From the site already mentioned, for the Guardian}
    The Trumpian foreign policy is a massive smackdown to the rightwingers in Australian politics and their Howard era “deputy sheriff” mentality, a doctrine that increased our risk of attack by terrorists. Our erstwhile approach of being “more Catholic than the Pope” as seen by former prime minister Tony Abbott’s unfulfilled pledge to “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin, and other inflammatory rhetoric that saw us excluded from talks on Syria (harming our anti-terror efforts), will no longer suffice now that the next US president has moved to rapprochement with Russia.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Oh I could make a guess at it, Benny: I'd guess it meant 'grab by the shirt front so that he can't get away (and give him a talking-to)' ~ the same as collar or buttonhole ... which is essentially what it does mean:)
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Oh I could make a guess at it, Benny: I'd guess it meant 'grab by the shirt front so that he can't get away (and give him a talking-to)' ~ the same as collar or buttonhole ... which is essentially what it does mean:)
    I'm Australian and had never heard the expression before, but that could be because I don't watch television or read newspapers. I would have guessed the meaning from the context, however. :)
     
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